National Walk Your Dog Week October 1st – 7th

Walking on the GreenwayNational Walk Your Dog Week was founded in 2010 to bring awareness to the ever-increasing problem of dog behavior issues and dog obesity.  Walking your dog improves your health as well as the health of your dog.

In addition to the physical benefits of heart health, muscle tone, and weight management, walking provides many mental benefits.  Regular walks will raise the levels of endorphins in your brain, which combats depression and anxiety.  A walk can help your dog eliminate extra energy and anxiety, and reduce or eliminate destructive behaviors like chewing and digging.  Excessive barking and whining are difficult behaviors to deal with after a long day of work.  However, they are not signs of bad behavior, they are signs that your dog wants some attention.  Regular walks together will give them the attention they crave.  Exposing your dog to sights, smells and sounds beyond their home provides mental stimulation to keep the brain healthy and prevent or delay cognitive disorders.  With you there to comfort your dog as he or she experience these new environments, your dog will learn to be more comfortable around you and trust you.  This can be extremely important with newly adopted or rescued dogs.  Thirty minutes a day will make a big difference and result in a healthier, happier dog and owner!

There’s the catch.  Thirty minutes a day.  For some of us, that makes walking the dog more of a chore than a fun event on the day’s calendar.  So add some fun.  Schedule a morning or evening walk with a neighbor.  Invite your child along and use the time to share the things in the day that made you laugh or quiz children on their spelling words or math facts.  Listen to an audio book or podcast.  Let your mind get lost in your favorite music.  Spend time talking to your spouse or significant other.  Talk to your dog!  A friend’s son told me the other day, as I was talking to my dog, “she won’t talk back, you know?”  Yes, I know.  And perhaps that is why I like talking to her so much!

Hopefully you will find a least one day a week when you can spend more than thirty minutes walking with your dog.  Charlotte is a city full of history and culture.  Take advantage of it!  With that in mind, here is a list of a few places to walk your dog in Charlotte that may be a little more exciting than a walk around the block.

Charlotte Greenways – There are almost 40 miles of developed trails in the current Charlotte Greenway system.  The greenways offer a variety of scenery and nature watching opportunities.  Add a walk on each of the greenways to your bucket list.  Map of Charlotte Greenways

Freedom Park – Freedom Park is one of Charlotte’s most popular parks.  Add some time playing frisbee or fetch to a walk around the lake for additional fun.

Fourth Ward Walking Tour – In the late 1800s, Charlotte was divided into four political quadrants.  Historic Fourth Ward remains in tact, boasting beautiful Victorian homes with lots of history.  Pick up a free walking map from INFO!Charlotte at 330 South Tryon Street or print one from this link, Fourth Ward Walking Tour.

Charlotte Rail Trail – Charlotte’s Rail Trail currently runs along the Lynx Blue Line connecting South End to Uptown.  It is a great place to walk with restaurants and shopping along the way, many of whom welcome dogs such as Triple C Brewing Company and Canine Cafe Charlotte.  The trail is family friendly and offers a place for walkers, runners, cyclists and skaters.

Crowder’s Mountain – Crowder’s Mountain is less than an hour drive southwest of Charlotte.  There are several trails ranging from under a mile to close to 3 miles (one-way) offering varying degrees of challenge.  Hiking Trails at Crowder’s Mountain

Anne Springs Close Greenway – Anne Springs Close Greenway is located just south of Charlotte in Fort Mill, SC.  There are several historical trails with links back to the Native Americans, European settlers, Revolutionary and Civil War time period.  Escape to nature!

Running Clubs – There are several running clubs in Charlotte with four-legged members.  Friends, running, dogs, and beer are a great way to end any day of the week!  Don’t let the word “running” scare you.  You can walk and they will still embrace you and your dog.  Just a few are the Triple C Beer Runners (starting from Triple C Brewing Co.), Running for Brews (starting from Brazwells , and the NoDa Brewing Run Club (starting from NoDa Brewing Company).

Now it’s your turn.  Where are your favorite places to walk your dog?  How will you celebrate National Walk Your Dog Week?  Share with us on Facebook or Twitter!  Happy Walking!

Charlotte Dog Runner

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